Guns Magazine Calls the Browning BAR Mk 3 DBM “One Great .308”

One of the world’s great (yet often underappreciated) centerfire autoloaders is Browning’s sporting BAR. Designed in the mid-1960s by Bruce W. Browning (John M. Browning’s grandson) it’s enjoying its 50th anniversary this year, and several top-notch gunwriters are taking a closer look at today’s BAR and coming away with a renewed respect for this self-loading legend.

“Without a doubt, it’s the softest-shooting .308 in its weight class I’ve ever used."

One such writer is Payton Miller, who did an exhaustive examination of the BAR DBM that appears in the November/December 2017 issue of Guns Magazine. His article, illustrated with highly-detailed photos by Joseph R. Novelozo, puts a spotlight on the performance that can be expected from this outstanding rifle. 

Shooting a Browning BAR Mk 3  BDM semi-auto rifle

A Guns Magazine tester puts the Browning BAR Mk 3  BDM through its paces. Guns Magazine photo.


“When I began shooting centerfire hunting rifles on a regular basis, it was practically an article of faith (that) an autoloader simply couldn’t hang with bolt guns when it came to accuracy,” Miller begins. “But what made me question this bit of wisdom many years ago was when I was asked to check the zero on the late Robert E. Petersen’s pet ‘ranch rifle.’”

(Editor’s Note: Robert E. Petersen founded a number of special interest publications in the 1940s and 1950s, including Hot Rod, Motor Trend, Guns and Ammo, Hunting and many others. He also helped launch the editorial careers of many of today’s most respected gunwriters.)

“The rifle in question was his Browning Grade 1 BAR sporter in .243 Winchester,” he recounts. “If I remember right, the load was Federal Premium 100-grain, which served double duty on deer and coyotes. What I do recall with clarity, however, was this rifle was a tackdriver — delivering 1-inch (or less) 3-shot groups 1-1/2 inches high at 100 yards with boring regularity.”

Browning BAR Mk 3  BDM semi-auto rifle

Out of the box the BAR Mk 3 DBM comes ready for scope mounting with integral Weaver bases. Guns Magazine photo.


“Recently we got our hands on an updated version of the BAR, the Mark 3 DBM with an 18-inch hammer-forged barrel, multi-lug rotary bolt, .308 chambering, black synthetic furniture and integral Weaver rail sections on board the receiver,” Miller continues. “The ‘DBM’ incidentally, stands for ‘Detachable Box Magazine.’ It’s a 10-rounder. And I like it…”

“…The DBM’s industrial strength, sleeved mag well, sculpted triggerguard and black synthetic furniture give it a chunky all-business look I find appealing,” notes Miller. “The magazine release — at the rear of the magazine sleeve, just forward of the triggerguard — is large and easy to access.”

BAR Mk 3 semi-auto rifle trigger.

Miller’s BAR Mk 3 DBM rifle sported a crisp 2-1/2 pound trigger. Guns Magazine photo.


“The trigger on our test sample was excellent by just about any action standard and broke at a crisp, consistent 2-1/2 pounds…,” enthused Miller. “Without a doubt, it’s the softest-shooting .308 in its weight class I’ve ever used. I let three other shooters try it and they agreed with me. One of them, an inveterate ‘stock crawler’ wanted to buy it off me on the spot …. As far as a sporting autoloader goes, this has got to be at — or very near — the top of the heap.”

Sub MOA 3 shot group from a BAR Mk 3 semi-auto rifle.

“In short, this new-edition BAR was every bit as accurate (probably more so) than the one I shot so many years ago, Miller concluded. “If I’d have seen this particular rifle back then, a younger, trendier, more caliber-conscious me would have wished aloud for a couple of chambering options besides .308. Our .30-caliber service round is about perfect for this platform, and this platform seems about perfect for it.”

You can read Miller’s entire article about the BAR Mk 3 DBM online at or you can pick up a copy of the November/December 2017 issue at your local newsstand.

Take some time to check out the Browning BAR Mk 3 DBM at your local Browning dealer today, and see why Miller called it “One Great .308.”

Original article copyright Guns Magazine 2017. Photos are copyright Guns Magazine, Browning and/or used with permission or attribution or are in the public domain. Review written by Browning staff writer, Scott Engen. Copyright Browning, 2017.